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Design Simulation Takes Another Leap Forward

Monday, March 13, 2017 - 12:18
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Exa PowerFLOW particle simulation

Exa® Corporation, a global innovator of simulation software for product engineering, has launched the new version of its flagship simulation suite, PowerFLOW®. The new PowerFLOW 5.4 software delivers breakthrough innovations in each of Exa’s four strategic software development areas: Accuracy, Applications, Automation, and Accessibility.


PowerFLOW 5.4 introduces new capabilities which improve real-world accuracy and the digital simulation process:

Accuracy – real-world driving conditions

  • New innovations in core physics allow for the simulation of tire tread patterns on rotating wheels as well as realistic conditions such as wind and upstream turbulence.  These developments allow manufacturers to accurately assess vehicle performance, range and fuel efficiency, and satisfy regulations for all vehicle configurations.

Applications – soiling and water management

  • PowerFLOW 5.4 now offers the option to incorporate dirt, dust and water into the simulation — with the real-world accuracy that only can be achieved using a transient solver. Powered by an extension to PowerFLOW’s transient CFD simulator, the new particle handling capability enables automotive and truck manufacturers to deliver a safer and much-improved driving experience through better control of soil and water accumulation.

Automation – robust and consistent simulations

  • Exa continues to take the guesswork out of simulation by building expert knowledge directly into the software. The new version automatically monitors and determines the optimal time to stop the simulation according to preset objectives, ensuring consistent and robust simulation results across disparate users.

Accessibility – more interactive 3D visualizations

  • The new PowerFLOW 5.4 suite provides for faster and more interactive 3D rotation of surface data through PowerINSIGHT®, facilitating accelerated access of simulation results and improved collaboration among departments.

Automotive and truck OEMs continue to respond to a number of market factors related to customer demands, testing, and regulations. Drivers expect a better and safer experience under real-world conditions including the effects of rain, snow, and traffic.

Additionally, the need to deliver extensive options on model platforms leads to exponential test requirements, which are expensive and time-consuming using traditional methods. Finally, new regulations require the certification of every possible vehicle configuration.

OEMs are looking to digital simulation as a cost-effective way to meet these challenges. The new capabilities in PowerFLOW 5.4 provide OEMs a single solution that addresses these needs throughout the design process.

Suresh Sundaram, SVP Products & Marketing at Exa, commented, “PowerFLOW 5.4 represents a significant leap forward in digital simulation, representing years of collaboration with many leading customers. This effort has resulted in a robust release that will enable engineers to predict even more accurately how new vehicle designs will perform and interact with their environments. The new release is helping state-of–the-art vehicles perform as expected in the real world by keeping sensors clean for safe, autonomous driving and understanding the effects of variable road conditions on vehicle performance, fuel efficiency and range.”

During an initial assessment and cross-correlation exercises between simulation and experiment, BMW was able to verify the potential and robustness of the Exa PowerFLOW water management capabilities in relation to windscreen sprayer modules.

These sprayer modules are provided by suppliers to BMW and functional targets are set for the installation configuration on the series vehicle. The targets for the sprayer operation are subject to numerous vehicle aerodynamic considerations.

Holger Gau of BMW remarked, “We have worked with the Exa PowerFLOW water management application to assess its potential in the BMW engineering cycles, and to develop a process where, given the sprayer properties, simulation can predict the sprayer coverage over the entire operating range of the vehicle. We see growing requirements for water management simulation applications, and BMW expects that in the future simulation may address topics such as side window soiling, backlight visibility and others.”

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